Most folks know that drinking water is essential for good health. Hydration helps lubricate our joints, keep us cool, and helps in countless bodily processes that keep you feeling your best. But despite all this knowledge, the majority of Americans (as much as 75%, according to some studies) don’t drink enough water to stay hydrated.
Why don’t we drink enough water? For many, the problem is simple: they don’t know how much to drink. Today, let’s take a look at precisely how much water we need to stay hydrated.
Drink When You’re Thirsty
Our bodies are intricate machines that can do incredible things – including tell us when we need water. Your body sends you signals whenever you need water, and these signals result in symptoms like fatigue, headache, or dry mouth. Theoretically, you could simply drink water whenever you feel thirsty, and you’d always get enough fluids for the day!
Of course, reality is a little more complicated than that. Many signs of thirst are very close to those of hunger, and we aren’t great at noticing the difference. In fact, one study on hunger and thirst cues found that people responded “appropriately” to their body’s signals only two percent of the time! While it is always wise to drink when you feel thirsty, relying on bodily cues (and your powers to interpret them) may not be enough.
The 8×8 Rule
If we can’t trust ourselves to spot our thirst cues, we need another method to ensure we stay hydrated. That’s why many health experts like to establish a clear-cut rule for water intake. The most common “rule” is the 8×8: drink eight ounces of water eight times a day.
The 8×8 rule is simple, straightforward, and easy to remember. However, it is far from the only hydration rule in the medical community. Harvard Medical School recommends only four to six cups of water each day. The U.S. National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine recommends that women drink 11.5 cups of water and men drink 15.5 cups (though it’s important to note that this recommendation includes fluids from food and other drinks).
How Much Water Do YOU Need?
Even if you follow the 8×8 rule (or one of the other recommendations from health professionals), you may still need more water in your system. Many folks require more water based on their circumstances, such as:
· You live in a hot climate or at a high altitude
· You drink a lot of alcohol or caffeine or eat a lot of salty foods (these can dehydrate you more quickly)
· You are especially active
· You are pregnant or breastfeeding
There are also scenarios in which you might benefit from drinking less. For example, folks on medications that make you retain water (like some antidepressants or opiates for pain) may benefit from drinking less water during the day.
Ultimately, there is no magic number that guarantees you sufficient hydration. But if you strive for four or more glasses each day (and take the time to understand your body’s cues), you can make sure you remain hydrated and healthy.
When it comes to emergency situations, you definitely don’t want to be without water! We recommend having emergency water reserves in your home, car and emergency backpacks. Our SOS Water Pouches are perfect because they have a long 5-year shelf life and are easily to store anywhere.